Indonesia football crush: Cries for justice as families mourn dead

Nineteen-year-old Mohammad Hafis wasn’t supposed to be at the Kanjuruhan stadium on Saturday night. He didn’t have a ticket.

But he and his girlfriend had managed to get entry wristbands.

It was one of the ways their bodies were identified by their parents hours later, wandering the corridors of a packed hospital in the aftermath of the stadium tragedy in Malang, Indonesia.

At least 125 people – many of them teenagers like Mohammad – died in a stampede at the stadium triggered by police firing tear gas at spectators.

Officers had responded in this way to quell fans of the losing side Arema FC who stormed onto the pitch after the final whistle.

But the stinging volleys – also sprayed at fans in the stands, witnesses say – left people blinded and gasping for air. That sparked a mass exodus; fans fled to the stadium’s exits where many of them died, trampled or suffocated.

Mohammad’s father, Alif, remembered walking through the hospital corridors hours later, wondering if his only son was alive. He told his wife to be strong.

“When I was shown my son’s dead body, I stood back. I didn’t want to see him. It was too much,” he told the BBC.

“Deep inside I am crying. But I have to let it go.

“My hope for football in Indonesia? Enough. This is the last. No more football in Indonesia.”

All games in the Liga, Indonesia’s top football flight, have been cancelled as the nation grapples with the huge tragedy.

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